‘Scream Queens’ recap: Sorority Hell Week leads to high body count in series premiere

‘Scream Queens’

Chanel #3 (Billie Lourd), Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts) and Chanel #5 (Abigail Breslin) examine their new pledges.

(Steve Dietl / Fox)

Move over, Regina George, there is a new queen of mean in town, and she goes by Chanel in Fox’s premiere of “Scream Queens.”

Before the resident mean girl is introduced, the episode in true “American Horror Story” form, throws back to 1995. In the midst of a raging party, a Kappa Kappa Tau pledge has given birth in the bathtub upstairs (she didn’t know she was pregnant; she just thought it was the freshman 15). Not wanting to miss a chance to rock out to a ‘90s anthem, TLC’s “Waterfalls,” her sorority sisters leave her to bleed to death. Hmm … do I sense the beginning of a curse?

Flashback to the present, when Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts) — think half diva, half devil — currently lords over Wallace University’s Kappa Kappa Tau along with her minions Chanel No. 2 (Ariana Grande), Chanel No. 3 (Billie Lourd) and Chanel No. 5 (Abigail Breslin). All is well in the vapid world of Kappa, that is until Dean Cathy Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis, the ultimate scream queen) threatens to take Kappa’s charter away.

SIGN UP for the free Indie Focus movies newsletter >>


Through Dean Munsch and Chanel’s exchange, a flashback proves that Chanel was not always queen bee of Kappa. She was once a lap dog for her predecessor, who was severely injured after her spray tan machine was filled with hydrochloric acid. (Did you spot the Red Devil?)

Luckily for Chanel and her minions, Kappa’s lawyer, Gigi Caldwell (a spunky and hilarious Nasim Pedrad), makes it clear that Dean Munsch cannot revoke the sorority’s charter, however much to Chanel’s chagrin Caldwell and Munsch strike up a deal to make the sorority more inclusive — as in anyone can join Kappa.

New student Grace Gardner (Skylar Samuels), fresh from an emotional goodbye from her overprotective father, Wes (Oliver Hudson), has her heart set on pledging Kappa to feel closer to her late mother. Grace, along with her roommate Zayday Williams (Keke Palmer), and Hester Ulrich (a hilarious and slightly disturbed Lea Michele), Tiffany (Whitney Meyer), Sam (Jeanna Han) and Jennifer (Breezy Eslin) rush Kappa.

Outraged by Dean Munsch’s new decree, Chanel hatches a plan, as most evil dictators do, to take back her sorority and keep it for the “popular” and “pretty” girls only. She enlists Ms. Bean (Jan Hoag), the house maid that Chanel lives to torture, in a plan to scare all the pledges out of ever joining Kappa.


The plan, however, goes awry when Chanel finds Ms. Bean’s room covered with photos of Chanel’s face with the eyes scratched out. Chanel confronts Ms. Bean and dunks her head in the frying oil. However, someone (the Red Devil?) turned on the fryer. Chanel takes Ms. Bean’s head out, but it is too late. Ms. Bean falls down dead (after, of course, peeling the burnt skin off her face in a purely campy fashion).

Soon after disposing of the body, Grace, unable to keep Chanel’s secret, spills everything to the resident investigative journalist, Pete Martinez (Diego Boneta), whom she briefly flirted with at the campus coffee shop. The two agree to work together to bring down the Kappa house and restore it to its former glory. To gather evidence to bring down Chanel, the two go to examine Ms. Bean’s body, but just as they get there, Chanel comes in with Chad to do the same, but to everyone’s surprise — the body is gone.

Worried that one of her minions will reveal her dark secret, Chanel makes the girls do a blood oath that she found through Google. Due mostly to confusion over how STDs are contracted and why a blood oath must be done, Chanel No. 2 runs back to her room before the ceremony ends.

Up in her room, Chanel No. 2 comes face to face with the Red Devil himself/herself. After a series of back-and-forth texts to someone, the Red Devil eventually stabs No. 2, who then manages to kick him/her away in order to message that she is in trouble. Sadly, before she can send the message for help, the Red Devil stabs her to death. No, wait, she comes back to life just to send the message. Phew! That was too close to not being sent.

Chanel and her remaining minions discover No. 2’s body. However they do not get the chance to dispose of it because, just at that moment, the pledges ring the door bell. It’s time for Hell Week.

In the first activity of Hell Week, called the Sexy Gopher Whore Head Challenge (of course), Chanel No. 3 and Chanel No. 5 bury the pledges up to their heads in the backyard and keep them there overnight. However, all hell breaks loose when the Red Devil turns the gopher challenge into his/her personal playground and mows off Tiffany’s head.

This time the murder is not so easy to clean up without a trace. Dean Munsch arrives at the scene of the crime, which is surrounded by cops, reporters and nosy students, to inform all the girls that they are confined to campus until the case is solved.

While the investigation continues, Chanel and her minions (what is left of them) head upstairs to figure out what to do with No. 2’s body. After many bad suggestions, Hester comes to the rescue with some very crazy (and deeply disturbing) suggestions of how to dispose of the body.


Gigi, in her attempt to keep the girls safe, uses the handy-dandy phone book to hire a completely incompetent security guard, Denise Hemphill (a hysterical Niecy Nash), as the remaining pledges are scrubbing the floors in another duty for Hell Week. However, things get interesting when Grace goes to the basement and discovers a secret door that only the Kappa president has access to.

Suspicious about the secret room, Grace runs off to tell Pete about her findings. After agreeing to dig deeper into the room, the two share a (surprise!) kiss but vow not to kiss again until the killer is caught — yeah, like that’s gonna happen.

Wes, after finding out about the murder at Kappa Kappa Tau, like any good parent would, goes to Dean Munsch looking for a job as a professor in order to keep a closer eye on his daughter. Grace, however, walks right into the danger and enters the Kappa secret room, only to be followed by Chanel.

Baffled by the bloodied bathtub in the room, Grace asks Chanel for the full story on what happened that fateful night in 1995. Flashback to 1995 and a few seconds after the Kappa pledge died — in walks Dean Munsch and Ms. Bean to help the girls cover up the death.

Pete and Grace meet up once again to discuss their findings. However, Grace makes a bigger discovery when she finds a Red Devil costume in Pete’s closet, which he says is his costume as the school mascot. (Do we really believe that?)

Back to the Kappa house, where security guard Denise is keeping an un-watchful eye on the house while Wes is parked outside keeping an eye on his daughter. After Gigi drives off with Wes, Chanel is attacked by the Red Devil in her room, and her scream awakens the world’s best security guard outside.

Denise rushes into the house but does not want to follow the girls upstairs, where the girls find “Sluts will die” written on the wall in blood — or red paint. Denise instead goes back to the safety of her car, where she finds her friend Shondell stabbed to death.

More tragedy strikes in the Dickie Dollar Scholars house when the frat brothers return to find Boone’s (Nick Jonas) throat slit and his body surrounded by candles and laid out as if from a satanic ritual.


Just when the Kappas thought the body count couldn’t get higher, Chad and Denise crash the Kappa’s dinner party (which involves drinking Chanel’s hand water) to tell them about their friends’ deaths. However, over at the morgue, the Red Devil pulls Boone out of the drawer, revealing that he is in fact alive.

So what did you think about the first two episodes? Campy or scary? Who do you think the Red Devil is, and is Boone working for him/her? Sound off in the comments and check back for what fresh hell next week’s episode brings.

Scream count: 18

Red Devil sightings: 9

Best quotes:

“We have a side-boob mixer, followed by a white party where everyone is encouraged to wear/be white.” — Gigi Caldwell

“Idiot, you don’t get STDs from blood oaths. You get STDs from dirty toilet seats and drinking the water in Mexico.” — Chanel Oberlin

“We can make it fun! Like a “Friends” episode, but someone, you know, is trying to murder all the friends.” — Gigi Caldwell

Follow @ShannonOConnor0 on Twitter.


Fox’s ‘Scream Queens’ sorority-slasher is a howler in more ways than one

‘Scream Queens’’ Emma Roberts on Chanel pastels, Blake Lively’s style and appearing almost nude in Aerie ads

Original ‘Scream Queen’ Jamie Lee Curtis reanimates her horror roots on Fox’s new slasher series

Get our daily Entertainment newsletter

Get the day's top stories on Hollywood, film, television, music, arts, culture and more.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.